RIM's Playbook: Pricing under $500 and a big bet on Flash

RIM's Playbook: Pricing under $500 and a big bet on Flash

Summary: Research in Motion will reportedly sell its PlayBook for "under" $500 in a bid to take on Apple's iPad. That price is simply admission for getting into the tablet game. The big question is whether Adobe's Flash platform will be a differentiator.

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Research in Motion will reportedly sell its PlayBook for "under" $500 in a bid to take on Apple's iPad. That price is simply admission for getting into the tablet game. The big question is whether Adobe's Flash platform will be a differentiator.

In a Bloomberg interview, RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie said the PlayBook will be sold for less than $500. RIM's tablet will launch in the first quarter.

Let's address the pricing part of the PlayBook equation first. That pricing news is nice, but let's put it into perspective. Any tablet that doesn't start at $499 is doomed. I've been pretty vocal that Android tablets need to sell at a discount---especially with 7-inch screens. RIM, which will sell the PlayBook as an enterprise device, may have more leeway on pricing, but not much. After all, RIM's PlayBook has a 7-inch screen.

John Gruber at Daring Fireball goes into the Apple pricing advantage more. In a nutshell, Apple's pricing ability comes from buying vast quantities of flash memory. RIM can't hang with that pricing power either, but may accept slim margins just to get into the tablet race. Simply put, RIM has to protect its enterprise market share.

The far more interesting item is whether the Playbook makes---or breaks---Adobe's plans for Flash.

From what we've heard, RIM's Playbook is essentially a vessel for Adobe's platform---Flash and AIR. RIM will rely heavily on Adobe's software to deliver apps and other platforms. Without Flash, RIM's Playbook might as well be a Frisbee.

The downside to this equation, however, is this: If the Flash implementation on the Playbook is botched by RIM, Adobe will take a hit. RIM has been so outspoken about the PlayBook's ability to handle Flash that it won't be the only one dinged if things go wrong.

Obviously, this PlayBook-Flash venture is high risk, high reward for both RIM and Adobe. Adobe has to be a bit nervous.

While we're at it, there does seem to be some buzz for the PlayBook. RIM has been successful at garnering interest. It's still too early to determine if the interest is warranted. The product---and the ecosystem---still appears to be in the early stages.

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Topics: Laptops, Enterprise Software, Hardware, Mobility, BlackBerry, Tablets

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9 comments
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  • You forgot to mention the underlying RTOS

    Heh Larry, you seem to only look at the surface, focusing on mere form, but not substance?

    You imply the mere iOS can truly technically compete with a real-time QNX Operating System? Do you even know what QNX is? All others will look like toys after this.

    Of course Flash will work, QNX is the most elegant, advanced & efficient OS in the world.
    WinTard
  • RE: RIM's Playbook: Pricing under $500 and a big bet on Flash

    All of PlayBook's pre-installed apps made by RIM use Adobe AIR, but my understanding is that it still runs Java apps. Which makes it no different from Android, where you can also create Java or AIR apps. However, RIM's BlackBerry Java and Android is not compatible, while Adobe AIR is. So by encouraging AIR development, all those apps should work fine on both Android tablets & the PlayBook, which gives more incentive for developers to use AIR. Especially since the Samsung Gallaxy Tab being the exact same size as the PlayBook, so AIR apps should work on fine both those tablets without any worry about resizing any of the assets.
    Matt_Fabb@...
  • RE: RIM's Playbook: Pricing under $500 and a big bet on Flash

    The playbook is the best tablet I've seen yet. And apple has no pricing advantage. They sell things at a super high profit margin. Rim can easily undercut them. But I really hope they don't make it like $499 to say its under $500. If the price is right I will buy one. And many others that I know will too. Rim needs to do good on this, its one of their last opportunities before they lose too much marketshare to other platforms.
    Jimster480
  • RE: RIM's Playbook: Pricing under $500 and a big bet on Flash

    I suppose you get tired of hearing this... (In my opinion) Adobe is one of, if not the biggest, players in the "spy on the user with our software" game. I avoid them as much as possible.
    jwhitmor@...
    • RE: RIM's Playbook: Pricing under $500 and a big bet on Flash

      @jwhitmor@... please take the tinfoil off your head..this is what is wrong with the apple stepford wives it's either apple or it not worth looking at.
      markrusso@...
  • Playbook does not display 1080p HD video

    It irks me that RIM promotes its Playbook as a 1080p HD video device when the screen has a resolution of only 600 lines. Sorry folks, but that 480 lines short of true HD. What the mean to say is that the device is capable of playing back 1080p, (or outputting 1080P hooked up to an external HD monitor), but the actual screen resolution will be Standard Definition. And that's deceptive marketing in my (play)book.
    JohnFB
  • RE: RIM's Playbook: Pricing under $500 and a big bet on Flash

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